GOP considers releasing intel behind memo alleging FISA abuses

Top House Republicans are considering publicly releasing some of the underlying intelligence behind a memo spearheade...

Posted: Jan 22, 2018 2:07 PM
Updated: Jan 22, 2018 2:07 PM

Top House Republicans are considering publicly releasing some of the underlying intelligence behind a memo spearheaded by Rep. Devin Nunes that alleges FBI abuses of surveillance laws.

Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, met with Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy while the House was in session during the shutdown this weekend to discuss the prospect of releasing some of the intelligence to support the findings of the classified memo, which was prepared by Nunes and Republican committee staff, multiple Republican lawmakers told CNN.

Rep. Mike Conaway, the Texas Republican leading the Intelligence Committee's Russia investigation, confirmed that the three chairmen were meeting about moving the process forward under House rules.

Republicans on and off the House Intelligence Committee are pushing for the release of Nunes' four-page memo alleging abuses of the surveillance law known as FISA related to the opposition research dossier on Donald Trump and Russia. The committee could use an obscure rule to bypass the normal declassification process, with a vote that would put the decision to make the memo public in the President's hands.

"It's like any document you put out, it should be referenced, footnoted - it should have the appropriate underlying reference to the material and to the degree that you can, show that material," said Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican who has called for the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller and the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"I think the memo is accurate, but I think just because we know what the other side's argument is going to be, you need that," Jordan added.

Democrats say the memo's findings are skewed and contain no more than partisan talking points, and they warn that releasing the memo will harm Congress' relationships with the Justice Department and intelligence community.

But Republicans appear to be charging ahead with their plan to publicly release the document and potentially some of the underlying intelligence so long as sources and methods are not disclosed.

"If we're going to go through the process anyway of declassifying the memo, are there some of the supporting documents that might not reveal sources and methods but might answer key questions that the memo does raise?" said Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican who has been among the most vocal Republican critics of Mueller's probe. "Chairman Goodlate and Chairman Gowdy and Chairman Nunes each sort of have jurisdiction over elements, and they are meeting and discussing a process now that I think will lead to greater transparency."

Nunes declined to comment on his discussions with Gowdy and Goodlatte. "I don't talk about committee business," Nunes said.

Gowdy and Goodlatte's offices did not respond to a request for comment.

The Nunes memo focuses on the FBI's use of the dossier on Trump and Russia compiled by ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele and paid for through Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

The document alleges that the FISA judge who signed off on surveillance warrants for members of Trump's team during the campaign was not given full information about the dossier that was used in at least one application, including that it was paid for by the Democratic sources, CNN reported Saturday.

CNN first reported last April that the dossier was used as part of the justification with the secret FISA court to monitor the communications of former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

While the FBI used information beyond the dossier to support the court application, the dossier was cited in footnotes to specific allegations, according to current and former US officials briefed on the matter. Steele was considered by the bureau to be a credible FBI source, so using the material was not out of line with FBI practice, according to the current and former officials.

On Thursday, the Intelligence Committee voted along party lines to allow all House members to view the four-page classified memo, which has sparked a conservative effort to release it, complete with a Twitter hashtag #ReleaseTheMemo.

Democrats have accused the Republicans on the Intelligence Committee of using a set of talking points to try to discredit the FBI and protect Trump.

"Their only priority is to protect the President and their political fortune, and they're willing to burn down the FBI and anything else if they need to do it," said California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the intelligence panel. "It would be a real betrayal of the intelligence community for partisan political reasons."

Conaway, however, argued that the executive branch would still have the chance to review and weigh in on making the materials public, as the committee rules give the President five days to object if the committee votes to make the document public.

"We believe it's important enough, given the players involved, to take this step, and there's one other step before those, and that is the White House gets to make an independent review of that," Conaway said.

Trump himself has been skeptical of the intelligence community and FBI, and he calls the Russia investigations and the dossier a "hoax" and "witch hunt."

"I would not expect President Trump to want to keep these things from the public," Gaetz said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 118587

Reported Deaths: 3310
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds8050179
DeSoto728580
Harrison549185
Jackson480088
Rankin404686
Madison386194
Lee366582
Forrest311878
Jones296684
Washington2627100
Lafayette255043
Lauderdale2546135
Lamar231940
Oktibbeha204855
Bolivar203979
Neshoba1868111
Lowndes181962
Panola172040
Leflore170688
Sunflower164349
Warren156156
Monroe153873
Pontotoc150620
Marshall148430
Lincoln143359
Pike140656
Copiah139336
Scott127029
Coahoma125837
Union125825
Yazoo123434
Simpson123149
Grenada122939
Tate121039
Itawamba117226
Leake116342
Pearl River116360
Holmes115060
Adams109445
Prentiss109220
Alcorn104512
Wayne102722
George101719
Covington98829
Marion95943
Tippah94924
Newton87227
Hancock86828
Chickasaw86727
Tallahatchie85526
Winston85221
Tishomingo82741
Attala80527
Clarke77053
Clay71022
Jasper69617
Walthall64427
Calhoun63313
Noxubee60217
Smith60216
Yalobusha56416
Montgomery55823
Lawrence54414
Claiborne53916
Tunica53717
Perry52423
Carroll50312
Stone49114
Greene48118
Humphreys45117
Amite42813
Quitman4236
Jefferson Davis42112
Webster37813
Benton36710
Wilkinson34221
Kemper33315
Sharkey28715
Jefferson27910
Franklin2513
Choctaw2096
Issaquena1074
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 161537

Reported Deaths: 2718
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23769383
Mobile17039318
Tuscaloosa10539141
Montgomery10435199
Madison946798
Shelby756365
Baldwin674369
Lee662465
Calhoun468962
Marshall445251
Etowah436552
Morgan426335
Houston421234
DeKalb351229
Elmore326558
St. Clair307042
Limestone295131
Walker285593
Talladega273937
Cullman260025
Lauderdale237143
Jackson221917
Autauga210331
Colbert208232
Franklin207732
Blount198825
Russell19763
Chilton190932
Dallas188127
Coffee182611
Dale180852
Covington176729
Escambia175331
Clarke138017
Chambers137047
Pike135514
Tallapoosa135387
Marion110331
Barbour10459
Marengo103522
Butler101541
Winston94313
Geneva9357
Lawrence87733
Pickens87418
Bibb85615
Randolph84316
Hale78030
Cherokee76114
Clay75812
Washington75412
Henry7286
Lowndes71728
Monroe66010
Bullock65017
Crenshaw61130
Perry5966
Fayette59413
Cleburne5779
Wilcox57112
Conecuh56513
Macon54120
Lamar5165
Sumter47721
Choctaw39412
Greene34616
Coosa2143
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